Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.
The Obama administration obeyed an usual court order Thursday to submit a written explanation of the president's suggestion that the Supreme Court should not take the "unprecedented" step of striking down his landmark health care law.
The president's remarks set off a firestorm of criticism from conservatives who interpreted Obama's words as a challenge to the judicial branch's authority to overturn federal laws it deems unconstitutional.
While some Republican lawmakers painted the president's remarks as an attempt to intimidate the justices, a trio of GOP-appointed federal appellate court judges went one step further, demanding that the Justice Department explain Obama's rationale.
The judges (who are hearing a seperate challenge to the health care law from physician-owned hospitals) set a Thursday deadline for the administration to comply, asking specifically for a three-paged, single-spaced letter—requirements that Holder met, CNN reports.
"The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute," Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court, adding that the Justice Department "has not in this litigation, nor in any other litigation of which I am aware, ever asked this or any other court to reconsider or limit long-established precedent concerning judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation."
The letter concluded: "The President's remarks were fully consistent with the principles described herein."
For more on the spat, and on how the White House has previously explained Obama's remarks (spoiler alert: it has to do with the Commerce Clause), head on over to Politico.